Almost 40 years ago, Richard Gurfein made a career jump from teacher to lawyer, but he still hopes he can teach people a few things. Gurfein became president of theNew York State Trial Lawyers Associationin 1995 with hopes of improving the public’s image of lawyers.
But he also had hoped lawyers would do some things themselves to better their image, such as volunteering to help community organizations. “In part, what lawyers do is protect an important part of American democracy – our system of civil justice. We deal with people’s rights and how to protect them,” Gurfein said. “I think that it’s important to understand when advertisements and news stories talk about unusual lawsuits and verdicts, [they] are the exceptions that prove the rule.”
NYSTLA has a web site on the Internet for the public to learn about the civil justice system. The Web site address ishttp://www.nystla.org. “I think lawyers should be active members of the community,” he says. “We owe a debt to the community.”